Monday, December 21, 2015

Blue Christmas

BB Christmas 2007

  I have wonderful ideas for blog posts. I have an entire one typed up on gift tags. Another on art. One on our trip to Savannah. But I am so incredibly behind this holiday season that there is barely room to breathe. Traveling for Thanksgiving and then the following weekend really set us back. Financially and in terms of holiday bandwidth. I feel like the older you get Christmas becomes more about finances and to-do lists than the true spirit of the season.

I am blue this Christmas. Before you tell me I have so much to be happy about (which I do) watch Brene Brown's video on Empathy. 2015 was the hardest year Max and I have ever faced. I was going to list it all out but I already air enough dirty laundry on Instagram. Let's just say people who should support us in very important matters didn't. AT ALL. We had crazy health issues (Max actually isn't celiac and definitely doesn't have scabies....LONG story) and Amelie was diagnosed with the dreaded peanut allergy. My mom declined rapidly this year and two kids and a 50+ hour week job have taken its toll on me. Physically (hello Olsen Twin appearance) and mentally, hello random crying episodes.

The hardest part of all of this is my Mother's Alzheimer's is also taking away aspects of my Dad. My Dad is the most hilarious, loving, and generous person in the world. But the stress is drowning him. He is a hero and a compassionate soul so you would never know...... but I know. It is altering the amazing father-daughter relationship we have. And that hurts. It is nobody's fault. It is Alzheimer's fault. That is why between help from the experts at MemoryCare and support from me we have decided we will be putting Mom in a facility next year if this rate of decline continues. What that means for this year is that this is our last Christmas with her at home. I'm not stating that to be dramatic, and it probably sounds unrealistic to prepare for that now but for me if I mentally go into this Christmas with that in my mind I will be more purposely present. I will have more patience. 

This isn't an easy decision. And the guilt he feels for even thinking about this is indescribable. But he cannot keep going at this rate. She is no longer his BB. We have done some research and while we could take her out of the facility next year for special occasions, at that point you are really only doing it for your selfish desires since they begin to feel at home in their new surroundings. So we will probably go there to celebrate in the morning. I guess. This is uncharted territory for us. I seriously picture scenes from Fried Green Tomatoes and wallpaper from paper roses because I have no idea what this will be like.

I will ask here if anyone reads to please go easy on him. We have had family complain that he isn't sending constant updates. He is in commercial Real Estate in Asheville. Do you know what that means? He is SLAMMED and literally has the same routines as me in the morning/night. Feed, dress, bathe...etc. He is also a 67 year old man. He isn't going to start a CaringBridge page or make phone calls. That is what I'm for. That is mainly what this blog is for. He is heartbroken and soldiering through. Please consider cutting him some slack. If you are concerned about him or mom shoot me an email. If you want to know what you can do I think we are unfortunately moving away from "outings" with friends. What you can do now is pray. Send cards. Send old photos. Send me a message or comment (leave your email) or postcard or carrier pigeon and tell me your favorite thing about my Mom. My Aunt Kelly (Thank you Kelly, I haven't sent a note and I'm horrible for that) sent me a bottle of scented soap and some holiday decor because those were things my mother loved. That meant so much to me. 

I do not have any mothers in my life right now and have leaned heavily on Aunts, Jackie, cousins, friends (Alice Myer specifically) and Max. I cannot thank our friends enough this year for all of the love and support you have sent our way. Alzheimer's is such a horrid disease because you grieve for so long. And it just gets worse. You all have been there for this marathon and will never know how much it means to me.

I love you friends. 



  1. Such an honest post. It's the most wicked disease there is, and hats off to you and your family for just absolutely doing your very best. There comes a time when it's more than a family can handle ... we're currently approaching this time with my grandfather. Thinking about you, your family ... sometimes it IS a blue Christmas, for reasons people will never know or understand, but I certainly hope things are more merry for you come the actual holidays.

  2. hugs. also- amelie looks just like your dad. xxx

  3. Sending hugs and prayers. I've walked a similar road, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. That you're walking it with small children makes it even harder. I feel for you when it comes to people who want updates, because the answer to the "How is..." question is always "Worse than the last time you asked." Weirdly, people act disappointed when one says that. But that's the reality with AD and other dementias. Best of luck with the transition to a facility. IMHO that's the best way unless maybe one is very wealthy and can have a separate wing of the house with a 24/7 staff of multiple caregivers. I feel for you and for your dad. God knows my mom's illness took a huge toll on my dad. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Just know that there are others out there who support you.

  4. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. My grandpa had a similar decline in health years ago and it is a painful thing to have to experience. The only thing that sort of gave us comfort was he was he wasn't with it enough to understand what was going on. It's really the people left behind that have the hardest time with it. It doesn't make any of it easier though. And the facility really ended up being the best thing. We could pop in and visit whenever and it was a relief for my parents because it was no longer all on them.

  5. I think of you so often Katharine and pray for your family. I am so so sorry. You seem to make the best of every situation but that doesn't mean you aren't hurting or sad. You handle everything with such grace. Thank you for your honesty.

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  7. Sending love and prayers your way.....I wish you peace.

  8. Good thoughts and prayers to all of you♡♡

  9. Hi Kat:
    I'm a friend of Mollie Patterson's and I stumbled onto your site. I also live in Charlotte and have a daughter close in age to yours. My heart hurts for you regarding your mom. My mom and I do not have a good relationship and are not close anymore - this has caused me so much grieve and sadness. It's almost as if she doesn't exist anymore for me. I know the circumstances are different but I do grieve for you as well as your mom's condition worsens. If you ever want to chat about this loss or just the challenges of having a family, I'd love to be your friend!
    Liz Brown